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Patricia Hutchison was already one of Colorado’s leading real estate professionals when she was approached about quitting the highly successful business where she’d worked for two decades and taking the plunge with a brand new property management venture.
“It scared me to do a startup,” she admits. “But I met up with the team and they told me about the idea and how their portfolio would be developed. I could see there was so much potential that we could do a much better job compared to the market. We could help their portfolio become best-in-class.”
But Hutchison wasn’t about to jump ship until she was ready. One of those involved, Mark Hamilton, had previously worked with Hutchison and considered her critical to the plan’s success.
“I was really attracted by how I could make a difference in people’s lives by inspiring our teams to deliver the very best customer service.”
“He approached me because the firm I was working for was winning a lot of awards,” she remembers. “So he said, ‘Hey, we want to open up this company and I can’t think of anybody I’d rather have do that than you.’
“So I just got to hang around with these guys, and I thought they were just some of the best men on the planet. It was great.”
Four months after the initial conversations, Hutchison decided the opportunity was irresistible, but she cautioned her co-founders that the launch could not be rushed.
“I said that it had to be done slowly and methodically, but already I was really attracted by how I could make a difference in people’s lives by inspiring our teams to deliver the very best customer service,” she says.
Hutchison became Founding President of Denver-based Mission Rock Residential and spent nine years overseeing rapid growth in revenue and profits. She was promoted to CEO in 2021 on a mission to further expand its management footprint of 27,000 apartments across 16 states worth a combined US$5 billion.
Two years later, it manages more than 30,000 units and aims to be at 35,000 in three years and 50,000 by 2030. But Hutchison hasn’t lost her belief that expansion strategies only bear fruit if they’re handled meticulously.
“We always have to be very careful that we’re doing it in a manner that doesn’t dilute the service we give our clients,” she says. “I’m very protective of our culture, and we won’t work with anyone who isn’t willing to align to it.”
It’s a policy paying dividends, as the company’s robust growth and presence on multiple lists of best places to work attest.
Hutchison has organized her teams to be nimble and efficient in responding to the needs of its clients and residents, earning an enviable reputation for consistently over delivering through innovation, creativity and a nurturing a supportive culture.
“We’ve improved across the board,” she declares. “The company we used to be and who we are now are like night and day. There are a lot of things that set us apart, particularly our people and values. If you have real estate and place its management in our hands, you know that we’ll deliver you the best results.”
That means more than just numbers, she emphasizes.
“Our competitors may endlessly quote their occupation rates, but there’s so much more to it than that,” she says. “We’re value creators. Our prices won’t be the lowest, but we’ll deliver the best net operating income, which is what the market will be looking at if ever you choose to sell it.”
“We don’t manage by fear; we manage by a competitive spirit.”
Mission Rock’s appeal is best illustrated by a trend that makes Hutchison particularly proud.
“A lot of owners call us and say, ‘Hey, look. I have a property down the street from you and it’s not going well, but I can see you guys are doing a great job.’
“Word of mouth is always excellent. We don’t manage by fear; we manage by a competitive spirit. We don’t want to be the biggest; we just want to be the very best.”
Mission Rock can only attain its impressive benchmarks of excellence because other firms are always ready to do business with it.
That includes banks, technology specialists, accountants, repair people and companies like the CoStar Group, which owns all the top online marketplaces for rentals, including Apartments.com, ApartmentFinder.com and ForRent.com.
“We’re very, very fortunate that we have established deep and strong relationships with suppliers and partners,” Hutchison says. “It’s absolutely critical to our success.”